Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

I have an idea

I need your input, people. Because I have a good idea, but I don't have a clue of how to initiate it. So I need ideas.

We live on a large tract of old, rich farmland. We have enough space for a very large vegetable garden, one that would get a full day's sun, decent rainfall, and would produce well. I've always dreamed of putting in a very large garden, but I don't have the ability to dig up the lawn, rebuild the soil, plow the rows, and plant the garden. I'm not strong enough, I don't have the financial wherewithall to hire a professional, and I have extremely lazy children that will not garden. This past summer I stared at the garden space for countless hours, dreaming of what could go in there if I only had help.

Larger back lawn, you see about 1/3 of it here, and it's MUCH deeper as well as wider.

My brainstorm today was to do a small 'community garden'. In exchange for the shared space, I'd 'lease' the land to 4 or 5 families, we'd plan a garden, and share the produce. It would be like a teeny tiny CSA. There isn't enough land to support more than 5 families, I don't think, but we could plant 2 dozen tomato plants, beans, peas, peppers, cukes, eggplant, brussel spouts, lettuces, and maybe a few exotics. We probably don't have enough land to support 4 rows of corn, the minimum you can plant for a decent output. But I don't know. I envision 2 plots, one for herbs, lettuces, and short plants. And a larger garden for taller plants and tomato cages.

Smaller side area for herbs and greens. This is about 1/2 the area.
In winter, with barn, that shrub is the same as the one with cat above so you can see size of smaller patch from different viewpoint.

My questions are:

Would you, if you lived in a fairly wooded area, take advantage of a private community garden? (Our town is very tree-centric and most people don't have enough sun to grow much of anything.)

Would you be willing to share produce with other families?

Would you put in the work in order to keep the garden pest free and the plants producing well?

Would you share in the cost to rototill and rebuild the soil?

How would you find willing participants?

How would you make up a summer contract for each growing season?

How much time would be required as work time for each family?

Would you only work with people you know, or would you be willing to trust strangers knowing that you're on the property much of the time?

What else can you think of as a detriment to doing this?

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Blogger Jendeis said...

The lawyer in me creeping out (though not licensed in MA, so this is just my general thoughts): would there be any hiccups in your lease about this? Are you allowed to sublet with your lease? Does your lease prevent you from running a large business? (Business can be defined in tons of different ways).

Otherwise, I think this is a great idea. Wish I lived by you guys so I could join in.

29/11/08 10:48 AM  
Blogger Daisy said...

Does your zoning allow a group-type activity like this? And your lease? Those are the main questions.
I also wonder if a Boy Scout or Girl Scout would take you on as an Eagle or Gold Award project. They could do the tilling and planting and assist with the weeding. Take a deep breath: and ask.

29/11/08 2:27 PM  
Blogger hschinske said...

I think it sounds like a great idea, but you would need to look into the terms of your lease, your insurance, and so forth. I wouldn't hesitate to ask for personal references. It's likely you'll attract highly respectable people (especially if you talk to some garden club).

Our city has urban 4H clubs, too, so that's another option besides Scouts.

29/11/08 6:26 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

I love this idea and wish I had enough land to do it myself! A friend of mine worked off this when he started his own community garden:


Good luck!


30/11/08 9:06 AM  
Blogger Carmi said...

Brilliant idea. Given the inevitable shift away from Globalized Big Food toward more local-sourced grocery baskets, it's a given that initiatives like this will at some point become more popular.

Assuming you can work through the legal, logistical and social hurdles, it's an avenue definitely worth pursuing. If I lived nearby, I'd be in in a heartbeat.

30/11/08 4:54 PM  

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